100 THE CHILD WHO CAME FROM AN EGG
and tried to draw away her hand, but the old woman said :
'Have a little patience, for there are some things I want to see more clearly.'
' But who are you ? ' asked the queen, ' for you seem to be able to read my heart.'
' Never mind my name,' answered she, ' but rejoice that it is permitted to me to show you a way to lessen your grief. You must, however, promise to do exactly what I tell you, if any good is to come of it.'
' Oh, I will obey you exactly,' cried the queen, ' and if you can help me you shall have in return anything you ask for.'
The old woman stood thinking for a little : then she drew something from the folds of her dress, and, undoing a number of wrappings, brought out a tiny basket made of birch-bark. She held it out to the queen, saying, ' In the basket you will find a bird's egg. This you must be careful to keep in a warm place for three months, when it will turn into a doll. Lay the doll in a basket lined with soft wool, and leave it alone, for it will not need any food, and by-and-by you will find it has grown to be the size of a baby. Then you will have a baby of your own, and you must put it by the side of the other child, and bring your husband to see his son and daughter. The boy you will bring up yourself, but you must entrust the little girl to a nurse. When the time comes to have them christened you will invite me to be godmother to the princess, and this is how you must send the invitation. Hidden in the cradle, you will find a goose's wing: throw this out of the window, and I will be with you directly; but be sure you tell no one of all the things that have befallen you.'
The queen was about to reply, but the old woman was already limping away, and before she had gone two steps she had turned into a young girl,' who moved so quickly that she seemed rather to fly than to walk. The queen,